Category: Action Required

fitness, active lifestyle

Life…IT’S UP 2 U, or is it?

In a world in which many believe the cause of their success or failure is someone else’s responsibility; we are here to remind you that IT’S UP 2 U.

Years ago, when we toyed with the concept of LiFE is NOW… we had a difficult time completing the very broad concept. (See photo below taken from our website)

The Story

At the time, we recognized life is to be lived in the now and then realized that the concept of “LiFE is NOW” was incomplete, almost unfinished in a sense; and needed a “call to action”. We felt an obligation to impart some action that would move people to live their lives now and to the fullest; so we tried to appeal to all life possibilities with one word or phrase. We quickly came to understand this was an formidable task and we resigned ourselves to add “…” after LiFE is NOW and let you add whatever action you needed to finish your concept.

Recently, though, from what appeared to be nowhere, a thought came to us (you know when you stop thinking about something the answer comes to you?).

IT’S UP 2 U

Sand Signature, Cape Cod MA 2021

It was simple, encompassing and to the point. You decide whether to remain where you are; whether to change; go on vacation; volunteer; move; learn to fly; or any other goal you may have. Many times life is up to you, not someone else. Sure, we can’t expect to move happily and successfully through life without some help and encouragement from others, but the majority of the onus falls on us. It’s up to us to make the decisions that will move us or keep us where we are.

Generally speaking we think most people in the world want the same thing (happiness, security, love) but we have different paths and methods of getting there but by and large that journey must start with us.

No one else can truly make you who we want to be; It’s up 2 U.

We had it all along! Now you can too.

LiFE is NOW…It’s up 2 U.

You decide.

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YOU, are the answer

There are many groups and people trying to save the environment, stop hatred, feed the poor, clean up the oceans and many others. It’s sad, really. Because it is a simple answer. YOU are the…

It’s sad that common sense has to be legislated

You are the answer. Take responsibility for your actions; each and every person. If everyone did the same thing many of our issues would disappear.

There is an old philosophy story that goes a bit like this; picture a college quad lawn, framed by walkways and cut into quarters by paths. Now, most people will not want to follow the pathways through or around the quad grass. They will want to get from point A to point B in the quickest time possible with the least amount of effort. So, what do they do? Rather than following the designated paths, they will cut through the grass to make the journey shorter. In their mind, they are the only people doing so; and they will reason with themselves that since they are the only one doing it what harm can be done. Right? Wrong. If everyone did this and reasoned in the same way eventually a new path would be worn and the grass would die.

So, everyone taking the approach that I’m the only one doing it, ‘what harm can be done?’ leads to unwanted change.

Let’s flip this belief on its head and widen its scope to racism, littering, hate, oceans, air, etc. What if rather than deciding to cut across the lawn, throw the trash in the ocean or unleash our hate; we stopped for a second and chose NOT to throw the trash in the ocean, or NOT to show hate?

What if we all took responsibility for our actions and other people witnessed this. Eventually, the norm would be to NOT cut across the grass. Such a shift in actions by one and, eventually many, can be a magnifying change everywhere. A shift in paradigms, per se. A shift toward a more humane society and better world.

LiFE is NOW…YOU, are the answer.

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Help Support Gary & MPN Research Foundation

This story is the epitome of a LiFE is NOW… moment, and we are pushing to help support Gary and the MPN Research Foundation. We are pledging $10 of every select Mountain High product sold will go to MPN Research in Gary’s name. Click here to purchase Mountain High gear and support Gary. Rather, however, than try to write the story we will let Gary tell it as he has on is Facebook account.

Gary in his Mountain High tee for MPN research

As an avid hiker I assumed the pain in my toes was from my descents down the mountains but when it didn’t go away I assumed it was something else. I tried insoles. I went to the podiatrist but the burning still occurred. The frequency increased. This past December 2021 my doctor ordered blood tests. Those tests detected an elevated platelet count and I was sent to an oncologist who did more blood tests that detected a JAK 2 mutation. I had no idea what that was. The oncologist told me I had Essential Thrombocytosis, a blood cancer known as a Myoproliferative Neoplasm. Once I heard “blood cancer” I think I heard the doctor’s every-other-word. I was shocked and couldn’t believe it. I decided to go to Boston to get a second opinion. Dr. Hobbs, from MGH, ordered more blood work and a bone biopsy. I was then diagnosed with Polycythemia Vera, another Myoproliferative Neoplasm, a blood cancer that elevates red blood cells and can effect platelet count. PV trumps ET. She recommended I immediately start phlebotomy therapy every two weeks. Having a fear of needles this was, and still is, a harrowing thought. When the doctor told me I had a rare blood cancer, that word “cancer” hit me hard. What did I need to do? How much time did I have? What will Jess do? Is my will in order? Should I arrange my funeral so my family doesn’t have to? I need to repair everything on the house that I’ve been putting off. Do I tell my kids? My Dad can’t lose a third child before he passes!

The word “Cancer” holds so much power if we let it. I asked my doctor how much time I had. She said as long as I follow all of the recommendations I should live at least another 14-20 years, if not longer. I needed to do everything possible to combat a blood clot and hope that it did not mutate into Leukemia. Okay, what do I need to do?

She gave me a list:

1.Lose weight; (I then dropped 30 pounds since Christmas and the Cougars Den’s profits fell 33%)

2. Follow a heart healthy diet and stay away from iron-rich foods

3. Stay away from sugar

4. Stay away from red meat

5. Take aspirin every day

6. Undergo phlebotomy treatment

7. Exercise every day

I felt empowered. It’s a “Cancer.” It’s one that can be managed but not cured. I started to realize I had some control. This was not going to define me or stop me from living a happy & joyful life. “Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what” (Lee; To Kill a Mocking Bird). I believe optimism and hope are disciplines. I refuse to let go of them. With the constant support of Jess we carved out yet another plan. I told the kids. Yes, I started repairing the house, No, I haven’t told my Dad, there’s no need. I will not burden him with this. What next? I have hiked all over New England and New York including the “The New Hampshire 48- 4000 footers,” and “The New England 67- 4000 footers”. I have also done some hiking in Scotland. In my life whenever I face struggles I take to the mountains. It allows me to focus my mind and spirit on my “next steps.” It’s where I go to recharge. I needed to have a positive impact on my circumstances.

I decided I would attempt to hike a big one on my bucket list- the Long Trail in Vermont; a 272 mile (with 65,370 feet of elevation gain) hike from south to north through the entire State of Vermont, as a fundraiser. I always wanted to hike it- why not do it with a purpose? I have never attempted anything that would place me on the trail for this long. Success is attained step by step much like hiking. While hiking you will slip and fall, you will deal with pain and discomfort. You will be wet and cold, you will descend and ascend but you will also witness bucolic vistas, magnificent sunrises & sunsets, babbling brooks, majestic waterfalls, cooling rivers, industrious wildlife, smells and scents that feed the soul. Hiking is an easy metaphor for life. One that fuels my spirit. Once you ascend to the mountaintop you invariably descend to the col or valley only to eventually ascend another mountain. In Life we will have successes but “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” Churchill. Those times in the valley, literally and figuratively, that is where we reflect, where we gain our strength to ascend again; to gain perspective and understanding. The trail trains my approach to life. Although the trail is long and the seed is sowed I’ll meet you further on up the trail. One sunny morning we’ll rise I know and I’ll meet you further on up the trail.

If you feel so inclined I would appreciate if you would please consider donating to the Myelproliferative Neoplasms Research Foundation (MPN Research Foundation).

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Diluted Drinks and a Watered Down Life?

Imagine sitting a bar with excited anticipation. It’s Friday, it was tough, productive week and the bar is buzzing. The bartender has already visited and taken your order. It was your favorite “start the weekend drink” and you are ready for it. You look around; people are mingling, conversations abound and everyone is starting to relax and open up. You see the bartender; they are selecting the correct bottles and mixtures; you know it’s your drink they are making and your mouth begins to water. Oh, this is going to be great; can’t wait. You hear the shaker, the ice makes a mouth watering sound as it sloshes around with the alcoholic mixture in the shaker. Now it’s being poured into the ice cold glass. It’s almost here. Just some finishing touches of garnish and it’s on its way. The bartender then gently lifts the elixir in its crystal carrying case and moves in your direction. Here it comes. It is placed lightly on a crisp white cocktail napkin with a smile. The bartender then walks away and leaves you with your favorite cocktail. The anticipation is intense. You reach out, carefully grab and lift the glass and move the elixir to your lips. The smell is vibrant and intoxicating. You take your first Friday sip ready to savor the feeling, but NNNNNOOOOOOOO!!! The bartender has watered down your drink. Your favorite Friday elixir has been reduced by dilution! ARGHHHH!

Well, the same can be said for life. Don’t we owe it to ourselves to give 100% into life rather than multi-task and water down the experiences that are happening right now. Diluting our senses by splitting our mind into past – present – future only reduces the full enjoyment of the moment you’re actually in. You wouldn’t accept a watered down drink so why accept a watered down life!!!!???

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